Conservation group backs moratorium on lake turbines
By JOHN D’AGOSTINO
A major voice has chimed in regarding the potential placement of turbines in Lake Erie. During its September meeting, the New York State Conservation Council went on record as calling for a “permanent moratorium on offshore industrial wind turbine development in any Great Lakes waters.”
The placing of turbines in Lake Erie has been a hot topic over the past two years in the Western New York region and in Ohio. There, a proposed Icebreaker Windpower project, made up of six turbines, has been considered for an area 8 to 10 miles northeast of Cleveland to produce 20.7 megawatts of electricity per year after it received approval from the Ohio Power Siting Board. However, a lawsuit filed in Ohio Supreme Court by lakeshore condo dwellers, according to the Energy News Network, has stalled the construction for now.
The New York State Conservation Council’s call for a moratorium started with the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Club. Its resolution notes that 11 million people are dependent upon Lake Erie for drinking water and cites a dramatic increase in the fishing in the waters over the last half century.
“After 50 years of cleanup, restoration and much investment of funding and human capital, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario account for more angling recreation and related economic activity of all the Great Lakes,” the resolution notes.
The federation also stated studies of offshore wind factories in the North Atlantic confirmed the negative impacts to fish, with impacts varying depending upon fish anatomy relating to swim bladder, and a threat to birds, including endangered raptors and sea gulls.
The New York State Conservation Council deems itself “a non-profit organization preserving and protecting the world we live in.”
Currently, according to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the state has five offshore wind projects in active development — the largest offshore wind pipeline in the nation. Most of that activity is taking place to the southeast of New York City and Long Island in salt-water locations.